Louisiana Stranger Cake may be a stranger to your recipe box, but it’s the ultimate quick cake to make in a pinch when company is coming. A cake mix, its ingredients, and some canned frosting are all you need to get dessert perfection, with a quirky but oh-so-tasty trick.
Where and how Louisiana Stranger Cake came to be is as mysterious as its namesake, but we can only hope that the pecan cake base harkens back to Louisiana. While Texas has a hold of pecans, Louisiana also has its own history with this buttery tree nut. When 18th-century French settlers planted pecan trees with success in Louisiana, the pecan has since been front and center in many low-country desserts.
Here, this shortcut road to dessert success has you mixing the frosting — yes, the frosting — into the cake batter. Sounds a bit odd, but trust the process.
Your ingredient list is unassuming — butter pecan cake mix, oil, water, eggs, and frosting. This recipe specifically calls for butter pecan cake mix, but if you can’t find it in your area, you can opt for a yellow cake mix with 1/3 cup chopped pecans folded into the batter.
This cake is simple to prep — simply take the cake mix, oil, water, and eggs and whisk until combined. The hardest (not really hard) thing comes next — whisking in the frosting. Yes, you read that right, a can of coconut pecan frosting goes straight into the batter. Why? Well, the better question would be, why not! A can of coconut pecan frosting will add extra moisture to the cake batter without compromising the texture. You can also fold in more pecans, but that defeats the purpose of this quick, economical cake.
Traditional versions of Louisiana Stranger Cake have you making a bundt cake — which is kind of counterproductive to the whole dessert-in-a-hurry concept. Cooking a bundt cake properly — regardless of batter density — takes a minimum of fifty minutes, which is not speedy when you need a dessert in a pinch. Here, I went for a 9-x-13 pan that has plenty of surface area for the cake to bake and bake up fast.
Once baked, this cake will cool down fast and just in time to add the second can of coconut frosting on top. While the frosting on top is different from traditional versions, the frosting is an affordable way to make this cake more of a proper cake (sorry, powdered sugar doesn’t cut it as a cake topping!).
One slice of Louisiana Stranger Cake, and you’ll understand the mystique of this cake.
The frosting in the cake batter gives the cake crumb a wonderful, tender, melt-in-your-mouth quality that you don’t find with your standard run-of-the-mill cake mix recipes.
Added texture from the coconut and pecans in the batter is enough intrigue to get you curious, but doesn’t distract you from taking another bite. Finally, the frosting on top fuses with the gold buttery flavors of the cake, driving home the coconut pecan delight from top to bottom.
Dessert at your fingertips and in no time flat? Count me in again and again.
Louisiana Stranger Cake
Serves 12 to 14
9m prep time
25m cook time
- 1 box butter pecan cake mix (you can also use yellow cake mix)
- 2 cans coconut pecan frosting, divided
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-x-13 pan with baking spray and set onto a cookie tray, set aside.
- In a mixer combine the cake mix, 1 can of the frosting, water, oil, and eggs. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes until combined.
- Fold in pecans (optional).
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few moist crumbs.
- Let cake cool completely. Top with remaining frosting, serve, and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Takes Two Tapas.